Why the 60ft trimarans were their own worst enemies


‘You were quite right to tip Banque Populaire in the TJV since her record speed over the last few days indicates it may well be the fastest 60ft trimaran,’ comments reader David Bains.

‘They were catching fast after being delayed. The small foil on the float rudder could well reduce drag significantly since the forward foil tips the float bows up so much they are “taildragging”. Frank Cammas in Groupama is a very reliable winner nevertheless!’

David adds: ‘I am sorry to see the demise of the 60ft tris, but their development led them to pushing the envelope to the point of destruction. That is their optimisation for outright speed in sheltered waters led to them becoming a bit fragile for really tough ocean races.

‘The more righting moment they were given, the more sail the skippers would carry, and sailing at 100% in a multi while surfing will eventually lead to diagonal flips. In fact the float foils were a significant preventer of this but sponsorship was reduced by all the inversions and breakages.

‘It will be fantastic to see their respective giant tris competing over the long record courses. I think the stability and safety goes up exponentially with size.’

True, and borne out by the length:beam statistics: Banque Populaire the ORMA tri is nearly as wide as she is long: 18.2m overall, with a beam of 17.6m. The giant Banque Populaire (artist’s impression above) will be 40m LOA and have a beam of 23m – a much more modest wheelbase.